Ok. I know I said that I wasn’t going to do it.

And as recently as conference I was adamant that I was not going to change my mind.

But I have.

The first thing of course that I have to say is that I am sorry for the delay and to explain that it was a family thing.

It’s well known that my husband died during the General Election in circumstances which were difficult, particularly for my daughter and the people close to me.

I’m sure you all appreciate that without her support I would have found it impossible to put the time, energy and commitment into this that the members deserve.

And those are three things that this role will need. In spades.

At a time when we have become the rallying point for the vast numbers of people in this country looking for an open, diverse, forward looking party, we need a President who has the status and authority to speak to that image publicly.

Just as importantly they will have to commit the time to listening to what the members have to say, and then ensure it is heard. Personal contact and availability will be key.

But members also need the right support and encouragement. The Alderdice report challenged us to create a culture that is inclusive. That is more important now than ever.

We cannot allow any possibility of retreating to what was comfortable and easy for some members and excluded others.

The President will have to lead, with all the committees and SAOs, on reaching out to those new members and build relationships which will sustain the next generation of activists, councillors and parliamentarians.

As a member of Federal Board, an MP and previously a member of the executive of the Scottish party, I know how hard Sal has worked and exactly what it takes to be a strong president.

I have no illusions about what it entails.

I will be out there listening to members, chairing the board, raising money and representing our views to the public, whether it is on the streets or on Newsnight.

I will be working to make sure we win, not just in this coming election but council, Welsh and Scottish Parliamentary elections and that we are ready for the next round of EU polling.

That will involve working with the leader, the new chief executive and the campaigns department to make sure our vision is delivered.

More than that I will take responsibility for making sure that the members are at the centre of that every aspect of that.

People are why I got into politics.

People are what makes our party tick.

People will be at the heart of my Presidency.

[ Originally posted at Lib Dem Voice ]